Three Rivers Press 2003
Date finished: 2005-09-21
Baer, formerly a CIA analyst, takes a pessimistic view of Saudi Arabia's future prospects. His basic points:
I have no argument against the first three points. The fourth may be debatable -- perhaps the region would stabilize around some new center such as Iran, which isn't an appealing prospect to Westerners -- but certainly it seems impossible that Saudi Arabia's collapse would make anyone better off. An epilogue added for the paperback version in 2004 considers the effect of the Iraq War on the country, and concludes that if the Iraq War goes badly, it will also be bad for the Saudis. We know how that seems to be turning out...
Baer is very cynical about the process that got us here, and about the US and Saudi rulers. The US pays lots of money to Saudi Arabia for oil, and then begs the country to buy US equipment and armaments. Many, many government bureaucrats and officials have their eye on lucrative consulting deals after leaving office, and therefore no one is motivated to fix things, whether by talking tough, reducing oil consumption, or stopping the government/consulting revolving door.
Near the end, Baer contemplates the possibility of the US having to invade and hold a portion of the oil fields, and thinks it might come down to that. It might be possible to hold the territory -- the oil fields aren't that large -- but it would be a terrible return to colonialism and would inflame the region beyond measure. I wish I could call this scenario implausible.
Dark age ahead, indeed.
Tagged: saudi arabia
%T Sleeping With The Devil %S How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude %A Baer, Robert %@ 2005-09-21 %D 2003 %I Three Rivers Press %K saudi arabia %P 238pp